Can you use Escrow.com for buying/selling social media accounts? Let's take a closer look [Update: Escrow.com Replied!]


#1

SWAPD is slowly growing, and with the rise of new members, we keep running into users who do not believe in our escrow services and convince our buyers/sellers to use Escrow.com. But, can you really use Escrow.com for social media sales? I would like to talk about this issue a tad and present to our readers what we have learned over the years and share our stories with you.

What is Escrow.com?

In short, it’s the most know online middleman service on earth. Escrow comes between a buyer/seller to make sure a transaction is conducted safely.

What can you use Escrow.com for?

You can use them for lots of things. From real estate, cars, to everyday items, and even domains.

Can you use Escrow.com for social media sales?

This is where things get iffy. There are tons of people who will swear that Escrow is their go-to platform for social media sales because they’ve conducted many sales without a problem. However, being in this business for almost ten years now I have a different side to that story. A side where scammers user Escrow to actually rob people of their social media properties, and this is how the scam works.

In the following example, the buyer is the scammer.

  1. A buyer/seller talk business, they strike a deal.
  2. To keep things safe, they agree on a middleman.
  3. They pick Escrow.com
  4. A transaction is started, Escrow begins to collect the payment and hold it until the transfer is complete.
  5. When the seller knows the money is secured, he gives the buyer the credentials.
  6. The buyer takes over the account and secures everything.
  7. Next, the buyer cites that this isn’t what he wanted, nor it isn’t as described. Sometimes, scammy buyers will just say that the credentials didn’t work.
  8. A dispute starts. Proof gets submitted left and right.
  9. The crafty buyer cites that he wasn’t even aware of this, but buying/selling social properties violates the TOS of the platform they’re served on.
  10. Escrow.com closes the dispute, in the favor of the buyer, releasing the money back to him. He gets to keep his money and the account he just secured.

We’ve seen/heard about scenarios like this all the time. Scammers use Escrow own rules against the sellers, which state:

In addition, Escrow.com, in its sole discretion, may refuse to complete any Transaction that Escrow.com has reason to believe is unauthorized or made by someone other than you, may violate any law, rule or regulation, or if Escrow.com has reasonable cause not to honor it. Each User agrees to indemnify and hold Escrow.com harmless for losses resulting from any use or attempted use of the Services in violation of this Agreement.

Source: https://www.escrow.com/escrow-101/terms-of-use

I’ve highlighted the part where the scammers go to when trying to close a dispute in their favor. They simply provide TOS of the platforms and go “see, you can’t even sell these things and I didn’t even know.” They will claim that they gave access back, or that the access never worked, so they can’t do anything. Since there is no way for Escrow to track that (unlike domain ownership, where you can do a search on a domain history), they won’t allow the sale to go through.

So, while most people are honest and a vast majority of social media accounts go unnoticed, Escrow.com isn’t safer than SWAPD in this category, despite what some members will tell you.

What makes SWAPD different than Escrow.com?

While it’s not really fair to compare the two since SWAPD is a tiny marketing forum and the other a global giant in escrow services, I believe in our field we perform better. Why?

  1. We audit, Escrow doesn’t. Escrow staff won’t look at you twice if you ask for their help/opinion about a property.
  2. We verify logins and fully help secure the properties. Escrow doesn’t. They don’t even care about logins. The just hold the money until the buyer is happy. If he isn’t, there are usually problems.
  3. We respond quicker. I keep seeing reports popping up everywhere that Escrow wait times (for responses) prolong transactions to a 7-8 day average (with rare cases going up to 30 days). We do it in 1-3 days.
  4. We go out of our way to help victims and track down scammers, even if months have passed after a transaction. Escrow won’t do that.

Long story short, if you’re selling a house, car, plane, boat, or a domain, Escrow.com is arguably a good place to do it. Social media properties? Not so much.

Do you have any Escrow.com experiences you would like to share? Please do so in the replies below.


#2

i dont like escrow, i prefer dealing on here, even when its deals i have from other forums etc. i always recommend them using swapd escrow for my safety and theirs


#3

first buying and selling social accounts is not 100% legal, but if related to hole business idea it can be done with escrow


#4

Debatable. TOS are not legally binding, that has been proved in many court cases. So, unless you’re breaking obvious laws, it’s legal to go against TOS. Breaking TOS can, however, be used against you in a civil case. But I will agree that it’s a gray area. That’s a whole another subject we covered already in another topic.


#5

I’m rocking with Swapd period point blank.

I went through a lot with some sellers and swapd helped me understand that the service was not worth the price/service wasn’t performed as stated. Basically a slick seller.

Swapd specializes in digital products/services that’s the big difference from a escrow dot com.

Swapd protects both the buyer AND seller. It’s no bias here on this site, just good business that’s it.

I have purchased on this website a few times now and I have NO complaints. - Just putting my two to three cents in.


#6

For what it’s worth, i can confirm that i received payment from swapd escrow this morning. I’d recommend this website and it’s service. :+1:


#7

I went through a lot with some sellers

Seriously, you did. You are a certified “Bad Luck Brian” (it’s a meme) of SWAPD. Every seller you touched couldn’t deliver, I am happy you at least got two deals down. But, at the same time, we always adjusted our policies a tad after each unsuccessful deal, so we’re experiencing less of those bad deals now.


#8

Escrow.com responded to this topic! (via our support email)

I have to say, I am impressed with their brand monitoring department. In less than 12 hours of posting this topic I’ve received this email from Escrow.com

Hi David,

Keeping this off the radar of the readers of your blog - I’m not aware of any disputes in transactions for the sale of social media accounts related to breach of the terms of use of that network. In fact, the Shopify businesses that sell through our platform on http://exchange.shopify.com often have a social component.

What we do offer is a fully licensed escrow platform that can be plugged in via API, and includes:

  • Seamless integration with your sites’s UI
  • Wire transfer, ACH and credit card processing, and 24/7 user verification
  • Ability to add your own brokerage fee or markup on Escrow.com services to your customers

If you’re interested in taking a look at how Escrow.com can add value to Swapd, let me know and I’d be happy to walk you through how the API works.

Cheers
Jackson Elsegood

Despite the obvious push of their new product where you can integrate Escrow into your site via API (which does sound like a good service), the sender claims that he isn’t aware of any disputes for the sale of social media accounts. We’ve heard/seen otherwise, but since I have Escrow looking at this topic I would love for them to chime in and answer a few questions:

  1. Your setup wizard (for a transaction) doesn’t even have social media accounts listed in the choices available. The closest thing is a domain, and a social media account isn’t a domain. How does one start a social media transaction?
  2. Does Escrow officially endorse these transactions that are considered a gray area (legally) by many people? It says right in your Terms of Service, that if a transaction violates any rules or regulations, it’s not allowed.
  3. How do you verify logins?
  4. If you verify the logins, do you secure the properties?
  5. If you don’t handle the logins, what do you do if the buyer says the logins he received aren’t working?

Basically, there is a lot of back-end stuff that needs to be done when transferring social media assets, and Escrow agents usually hold the funds until the buyer gives the green light. Well, our niche is filled with con artists, and if we followed those transfer procedures, we would be out of business fast! Since Mr. Jackson implied that social media sales is something they do, I would love for Escrow to answer these questions above.

Mr. Jackson has also mentioned that "In fact, the Shopify businesses that sell through our platform on http://exchange.shopify.com often have a social component."

Yes, social components are often tacked onto deals, which somewhat whitewashes the whole deal, but we’re talking about straight sales of social media accounts.

And he has also mentioned: "If you’re interested in taking a look at how Escrow.com can add value to Swapd, let me know, and I’d be happy to walk you through how the API works."

I’ve read about your service day one when it came out. However, I couldn’t understand what incentives do we have as a website, and what protections will our users have by going with your service.

I sincerely hope that email wasn’t just a sales email for your new services and you will address our questions, Mr. Jackson Elsegood.

Thank you.


#9

Hi again David,
Great questions - I’m going to paraphrase some to make this more readable:

Who are you?
My name is Jackson Elsegood, I’ve been the General Manager of Escrow.com since 2015. I work out of our head office in San Francisco.

You claim you aren’t aware of any disputes for the sale of social media accounts
Actually I said I’m not aware of any disputes in transactions for the sale of social media accounts related to breach of the terms of use of that network. Disputes happen all the time, we have a great in house dispute management team that helps sort them out.

Why would we use a licensed escrow service, instead of running our own?
A licensed independent escrow service keeps the buyer, seller and marketplace safe. In addition to the regular escrow service of only releasing funds when ownership has transferred, we also include all the extra parts that are required (often by law depending on your country) to move funds on behalf of buyers and sellers.

  • Our Buy-It-Now and Make An Offer buttons make negotiation and payment simple and fast (no more support tickets)
  • ID verification for large transactions to make sure you’re not dealing with a scammer
  • Live international support for you and your buyer
    For many buyers, this is the first and only time that they will buy a social media account, with Escrow.com you don’t risk them backing out of the deal because they don’t trust the escrow service.

How does one start a social media transaction?
Choose “General Merchandise” or simply enter the type of account you are selling after “I am selling…” on the Escrow.com homepage

Does Escrow endorse transactions for social media accounts?
Escrow.com is an independent escrow service, not a legal advice service. It is always the responsibility of the users of a social network to understand and abide by a social network’s terms of use.

How do you verify logins, do you secure the properties?
We partner with marketplaces to do this. Sounds like a good fit to me.

What if the buyer says the logins he received aren’t working?
We have an internal dispute resolution service that handles problems when a buyer can’t login.

What incentives are there for using Escrow.com on our site?

  1. Buyers feel comfortable paying higher prices because they know their funds are going to a business with a decades long track record.
  2. Because we operate across many marketplaces our fees are significantly lower than what is achievable with an in-house solution.
  3. Marketplaces like SWAPD plug in the services of Escrow.com so they can focus on the specialised services that make them great for their users.

Best regards,
Jackson


#10

Straight to counter-answers:

My name is Jackson Elsegood, I’ve been the General Manager of Escrow.com since 2015. I work out of our head office in San Francisco.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Thank you for registering on our modest site and answering our questions.

I see. Thank you for correcting that.

A licensed independent escrow service keeps the buyer, seller and marketplace safe. In addition to the regular escrow service of only releasing funds when ownership has transferred, we also include all the extra parts that are required (often by law depending on your country) to move funds on behalf of buyers and sellers.

Now I agree, it doesn’t get any more legit as Escrow when it comes to licensing/etc. However, we’re in the process of changing our classification into a full-blown escrow service. Currently, our tax classification makes things difficult, but we staffed a lawyer and a personal finance advisor, and in 3-4 months we will have the same class license as Escrow (exactly the same, we’ve used Escrow.com as an example and looked up your PKD in our meetings) within the European Union. Yes, that isn’t global, but it’s a start. SWAPD started (still is) as a small project, and we never expected to do the type of volume we do already with just 3000 members. We are getting things done as needed, and hopefully, we can follow in Escrow footsteps as far as legal paperwork goes :smiley:

Choose “General Merchandise” or simply enter the type of account you are selling after “I am selling…” on the Escrow.com homepage

Got it. Personally, I find that a tad confusing, I believe most people will confuse General Merchandise with physical goods.

Escrow.com is an independent escrow service, not a legal advice service. It is always the responsibility of the users of a social network to understand and abide by a social network’s terms of use.

I agree. But I’ve heard cases where users used networks TOS to turn the transaction dispute in their favor. I will source this if I find the complaints. And that still doesn’t address the remark in your TOS where it says “if it violates a rule or regulation”, which could clearly be applied to such transactions.

How do you verify logins, do you secure the properties?
We partner with marketplaces to do this. Sounds like a good fit to me.

Can you give some examples? So Escrow doesn’t verify things themselves when it comes to social properties? Just a few replies above you’ve mentioned about Escrow.com being independent. Relying on someone to perform a job needed to complete a transaction is being depended. If you use a third party, how do you vet them? Are there any requirements? Can anyone become a marketplace that works directly with Escrow? For example, a site called OGUsers.com. If they decided to use your services (API plug), would you count on them to give the thumbs up/thumbs down on verifying logins? The reason I’ve used them as an example is that the site has a bad reputation, so I was wondering how would that work.

What if the buyer says the logins he received aren’t working?
We have an internal dispute resolution service that handles problems when a buyer can’t

And that’s the most important thing I wanted to know, and your answer only gave me more questions :slight_smile: But I do have a solution for that! (described at the bottom)

What incentives are there for using Escrow.com on our site?

  1. Buyers feel comfortable paying higher prices because they know their funds are going to a business with a decades long track record.
  2. Because we operate across many marketplaces our fees are significantly lower than what is achievable with an in-house solution.
  3. Marketplaces like SWAPD plug in the services of Escrow.com so they can focus on the specialized services that make them great for their users.

I can agree on #1. #2 is debatable. For example, we throw in audits and personal support if things go wrong, even months after a transaction. #3 may work for some other sites, but on SWAPD, you would basically taking away our only income stream from this website, with nothing in return (for us). We’ve been opened for 18 months now, the amount of people wrong here amounts to 5-6. The close circle of people we work with trust us, and while I don’t think they would have a problem using Escrow, why change things if there aren’t any serious incentives?

I absolutely love that you came here and addressed some of our questions. I say some because you’ve didn’t exactly elaborate further on the most critical aspects of social media account transfers, which we were dying to know about. However, this topic gave me an idea.

CASE STUDY TIME!

In the upcoming 2-3 weeks I will try to be a secret customer, and along with our staff create 2-3 transactions on Escrow.com that involve social media assets.

Case study #1. We will conduct a transaction as normal, where the buyer/seller are honest and nothing goes wrong.
Case study #2. We will conduct a transaction where a buyer goes rogue, as mentioned in the scenario in my first post.
Case study #3. We will conduct a transaction where a seller goes rogue.

Not sure if Escrow will like that idea, if I am overstepping boundaries please let me know. But it will be in a controlled environment, and there will be no real victims (except maybe for one pissed off Escrow agent). I just want to get into the bottom of it and prove whether Escrow.com is safe for buying/selling social media assets.


#11

Thanks for the answers, by the way!


#12

If my experiences can help someone else I’m satisfied lol


#13

Looking forward to having you on the platform!


#14

Thank you. I will update this topic once we get our case studies going.


#15

Great post! I was wondering about Escrow.com!

How about escrowmybits.com? Also, does SWAPD intend to integrate cryptocurrency payment in the future? Thank you!


#16

What exactly do you mean by “integrate cryptocurrency payment”? We do accept BTC already if that’s what you’re asking.


#17

D’OH! Sorry, yes, that is what I meant and I didn’t know you guys had BTC payment already available! Sorry for the redundancy!


#18

Swapd is better than escrow.com when it comes to social accounts for sure , secure properties and fast support guys means alot.


#19

Over the years I’ve tried loads of different platforms/sites and I have to say that SWAPD offers the best most secure service there is. I now don’t use anything else now.


#20

Agreed